When I am away at a conference, I always think I’ll accomplish more than I do at home. Somehow the idea of being freed of everyday responsibilities – preparing meals, feeding the cats, doing the dishes and grocery shopping – leads me to believe I’ll be able to spend every minute in creative expression.
Yet being away from my own familiar environment presents its own challenges. I miss the sense of sitting down at my own familiar desk, pulling out my keyboard or my favorite pen and yellow pad, and starting to write.
This past week I did accomplish much, although it ended up being largely about immersing myself in new learning (nonfiction writing). We wrote several new pieces as part of our daily in-class and homework writing. But those stories I brought from home to revise – untouched. The stack of books I took to jumpstart my reading – unopened, for the most part.
Today I came across an article that reminded me of the power of ritual to keep you grounded. It’s a feature in Real Simple magazine (don’t laugh!) called “How They Do It” (byline: Jane Porter), in which five “experts” give their opinion on a particular question; this month’s question is: What daily or weekly ritual keeps you grounded?
While the 5 experts (CEOs, business founders and executives) describe rituals that don’t look like mine e.g., (a weekly run with co-workers, Saturday morning journaling, a weekly dance class, etc.), when I saw this question I immediately thought about my own rituals, and about you, fellow bloggers and writers, and our #productivewriter experiment. I can’t wait to ask you:
What rituals keep you grounded?
Like many of you, I’m sure, I am a creature of habit. Now that I am back home, I’m excited to get back to my rituals. They help ease me into writing and provide a solid foundation for my creative expression. These are some of mine:
- Brewing a hot cup of (looseleaf) tea twice a day (midmorning and midafternoon), especially Earl Grey and Darjeeling.
- Doing my “sketch-a-day” practice.
- Freewriting from a line of poetry, courtesy “Poem of the Day” from the Poetry Foundation.
- Taking a walk in the afternoon with my son.
- Every 1st and 15th of the month: sending out submissions for material I’m marketing.
- Responding to comments posted to my blog, and reading/commenting on blogs I follow.
- (About once a week) Write a new installment of one of my serialized fiction blog stories.
- Read and review a book a week.
- (On occasion, especially when I’m stuck) Write a journaled dialog between my “organizing” self and my “creative writer” self. More about this in a future post.
- (Sunday nights) Write a new blog post about productive writing.
Do these rituals remind you of any of your rituals? Do you do something completely different? How do your rituals help you to accomplish your own creative expression? I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!